Hello! Long time no see! Today I noted that it’s been almost three months since my last blog which is unreal… where do the months go? Considering this time last year I was bashing out at least two per week, you could say it’s been a little neglected!
The truth is, my life has been overtaken by social media… literally, as it’s about to become my job and my source of income from September 1st!
So, let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to these last few weeks and how my decision to do a course last September has ended up becoming my new career.
Have you ever got to a point in your life where you fancy doing something a little different in your career? Or maybe you would like to do something that could earn you a bit of extra cash alongside your employed job? Well, I was in both of those camps. I’ve always wanted to work for myself but have never been creative enough to do something that I could sell. Being a PA for 20+ years is all I know!
Then a friend of mine suggested doing something with social media. She figured I’d be good at being a Social Media Manager given that I have my phone permanently glued to my hand (rude!). I hadn’t realised this was even a thing! She suggested a course run by Digital Mums; a six month course learning all the skills required by doing lessons remotely and learning the practical elements by running your own community campaign, across three social media platforms.
I sat on the idea for a good eight months, not sure if I had the balls to get back into education. It had been 14 years since I had done any kind of learning and following the kids, I seriously doubted that my brain could hold any kind of information!
Then in June of last year, I once again found myself Googling about the Digital Mums course. I chatted it over with friends and family who all reassured me that I could do it. So, during the Summer, I did it… I signed up! I can’t lie, it was the most busy, stressful six months of my life, but it was so totally worth it. I’ll write a separate blog about what its like to go through the training… but for now, let’s skip forward eight months…
It’s May… I have graduated as a fully fledged Social Media Manager, just returned from a two week holiday in Florida (that’s for another blog!) and I have a gut feeling that I will soon be made redundant! Holy shit… this could get real!
So, once I got over my post holiday blues, I decided to start making strides in what I was going to do as my new business. Thankfully, a very well timed workshop held by Digital Mums was booked for mid-May, about utilising your LinkedIn profile to help you promote your business. I also got to meet all the lovely ladies who had been learning alongside me, especially those within my close cohort – my Frida K girls (more on that the blog).
I then played around with some ideas for a brand name. First of all, I tried out ‘Tales of Social Media’ trying to tie it in with this blog… but after a few weeks, it didn’t feel right. I knew I wanted to keep my brand local to Somerset, so I decided to re-brand my Digital Mums community campaign which was ‘Somerset State of Mind’ to become my new business… ‘Social in Somerset’.
Mid-June, a few days after I’d put my new logo together, guess what happened? I got told I was ‘at risk of redundancy’ due to a huge restructure. However, being the PA to the Regional Director, it’s pretty much a done deal and I now leave on August 31st. I have been with the same colleagues for 15 years so it’s going to be very strange to leave, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet!
So, shit just got real! I now need to make this work as my new career! It was at that point that I decided to add Virtual Assistant services to my offerings as I have more than a little experience in that field… I suppose you could say it’s my comfort zone!
As you can imagine, with this new self-employment adventure, my head is full of so many things I don’t know a whole lot about… Business plans, HRMC, insurances, business bank accounts, business cards, to name a few! Luckily, I have secured some funding from TDA (Torbay Development Agency) who run the ‘Growth Support Project’ to support small businesses, so I have a little bit of hand-holding as I go through this process.
One big recommendation from the meeting with Phil at TDA was to start networking. Networking! Since leaving college, my working life has been sat behind a desk. I’ve never been worried about talking to anyone, but this is a whole different ball game… I now need to sell myself and what I can do! I started to doubt myself and everything I had learnt in the past eight months!
Thankfully, I found a networking group that was right up my street. ‘Letstalkbiz’ is a less presenting, more connecting networking group and as soon as I walked into the meeting I felt at ease and ready to chat about how I could help people. I felt relaxed and able to be myself, there was no pretentious business bullshit, which is just how I like it.
From that event, I’ve already got a couple of meetings lined up with people that want to know more about what I can do, and I’m also delighted that I have secured my first client doing VA work for his new business.
So all in all, its exciting times ahead… but I am going to make a plan to start blogging again. The six weeks holidays are coming up and tapping thoughts out on the laptop helps to keep me sane… along with a large G&T… of course!
Until next time,
Tales of a Mother’s Daughter
Ps… if you are a business looking for social media or VA support, you can check me out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under @social_somerset and ‘Social in Somerset’ … or just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org